From the discomfort of my own home


from the discomfort of my own home I buy dresses, look up recipes, do online surveys. I woke up to complete a survey to get free food but I didn’t qualify. I don’t qualify for any of these surveys. I think I should have fallen in love again by now. I put on a choker before eating dinner alone in my room. my mother always asks me if the person I’m dating is ‘the love of my life’. then yesterday she sent me a message that said “hi I just sent u and your sister an article about the odds of finding love. apparently, it’s just a numbers game. if u do nothing it’s 1 in 536 on any given day”. I woke up to make a big batch of ice cubes. I want to walk down a very long driveway. I have met someone new but it’s too early for them to find out I’m a judgmental petty bitch. I need them to form an emotional attachment to me first.


Unfortunately to get more friends you tend to have to have friends in the first place. to get a job it’s easier if you have a job in the first place. the fear of money is affecting my endocrine system. continental breakfast and bobby pins falling out. I was about to enjoy this cereal but then I remembered I’m not allowed to enjoy anything because I don’t have a job. I go to a babysitting interview and they start digging a grave for their dying dog while I’m there. I’ve been seeing a lot of moon boots around lately. I can’t remember if I took my medicine. I keep thinking “why am I doing this” to nothing in particular. everyone I’ve dated or had sex with has been a ‘dog person’ and I hate dogs. every time I mention to my mother that I’m finding it hard being unemployed she says, Why don’t you start your own business? I really don’t know why you haven’t tried to do that.


my father is getting remarried. the wedding is at 7am. he keeps asking me which brunch option he can put me down for at the restaurant. I say fried eggs on toast. He says, ok I’ve put you down for eggs benedict. he asks me what I have been up to recently and I say nothing because I am very depressed and anxious. he says, oh right, well, I am thinking about getting the house renovated because there’s no indoor/outdoor flow.

at the wedding I hug the bride and snag her dress with my fingernail. I bring a rubber plant as a gift. I keep blowing my nose every time someone looks at me so they won’t talk to me. but in the middle of brunch my aunt turns me to say, So, do you have any hobbies? Well, I don’t make art anymore I just have disappointing relationships. All of my emails sound like I wrote them with a knife held at my throat.


I’m ovulating. no one’s giving me any attention so I make an apple pie at midnight. I spray multi-purpose cleaner on the pie and it shines and then it gets soggy. last week I had sex with the orphan. but we fell out before I could give him his birthday gift. a candle melted down to make another candle. he was angry I left his house because I felt anxious. if you had a job then you wouldn’t have so much time on your hands to find problems, he said. he didn’t understand why I was going to the hospital to see my sister when I already had plans. He thought it was too much for people to expect you to help them.


Returning home after a long day of doing nothing. Wearing neutral colours, not folding clothes, not doing dishes, not making an appointment. I eat porridge off a plate. I water the rubber plant that my mother has positioned behind the door because she hates it. It gets squashed every time the door opens.

My phone keeps accidentally calling people. I don’t have any friends but it keeps calling my mother or the woman I did babysitting for two months ago. I am supposed to be meeting someone but my grandmother is dying. I’m walking around in the dark in a suburb very far from my house eating $1.62 worth of ham from a plastic bag. I can’t remember what my skills are. My mother messages me to say that my grandmother is about to die, and then that she has died. I start typing out a message and my phone accidentally calls her. My mother says, I can’t talk on the phone right now, I’m too upset, I just can’t, I’ll talk to you in a few days. My phone accidentally calls her again, two more times. The mood ring I’m wearing is stuck on my finger. Summer is over and I didn’t have fun.


Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle is from Auckland, New Zealand and currently lives in Melbourne. Her work has appeared in publications such as Cordite, Fanzine, and Best New Zealand Poems. She is the author of Autobiography of a Marguerite (Hue & Cry Press, 2014).